Andrei Aleksandrovich Zhdanov


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(b. 26 Feb. 1896, d. 31 Aug. 1948).

Soviet politician Born in Mariupol (later Zhdanov), he joined the Bolsheviks in 1915, and became an active propagandist for the party until the 1917 Russian (October) Revolution. He became a political officer in the Red Army, and in 1924 he was responsible for the Communist Party in Tver and Nizhny Novgorod. In 1934, he succeeded Kirov as chairman of the Leningrad Communist Party, and was regarded as a likely successor to Stalin. In that year, he also became a secretary of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee, and in 1939 joined the Politburo. He took an active part in Stalin's Great Purge, as well as the ruthless imposition of Soviet rule in the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) in 1940–1. He contributed decisively to the organization of the defence of Leningrad, 1941–4. Zhdanov is best remembered for his cultural and ideological influence. He instigated a major educational reform in the Soviet Union in 1934–8, and in 1944 he became responsible for party ideology. He enforced socialist realism in the arts and a Bolshevik historiography. His vicious opposition to any Western, ‘decadent’ cultural influence led to his country's complete artistic isolation. In 1947, he became the co‐founder and leader of Cominform (see Comintern).

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.

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